If you can’t beat ’em, confuse ’em — at least, that’s the tactic Paul Lambert seems to have chosen against Newcastle. Unfortunately for the Aston Villa manager, it hasn’t been working so well.
The visitors took the lead in the first half, courtesy of a goal by Hatem Ben Arfa after Loic Remy split apart the frail Aston Villa defense. Villa looked determined to find an equalizer, but both Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor could do little more than place their shots wide — shots that were taken from close range, and from such good positions, that most watching the game believed they could’ve easily put the ball into the back of the net.
So the task of getting Villa back on track fell to Christian Benteke. He capitalized on the introduction of Libor Kozak as well as a bit of a muddle from Tim Krul, who couldn’t find his way around the mass of Villa shirts inside the area. Benteke got his head on the end of a corner by Ashley Westwood and got Villa their equalizer – much to the shock of Villa supporters around the world, who couldn’t remember the last time their side scored from a corner.
Alas the Villa faithful only had a few minutes to celebrate before Yoan Gouffran, on for Remy, gave the visitors the lead once more. Brad Guzan managed to keep out a shot from Ben Arfa, but the goalkeeper knocked the ball directly to Gouffran. The Newcastle attacker wasted no time in sending his shot past Guzan and into the top left corner.